Severance appeals extradition ruling

WEST VIRGINIA (WUSA9) -- A West Virginia Judge today ordered Charles Severance, the person of interest in three Alexandria murders, to be extradited to Loudoun County, Virginia. But that extradition is now on hold because Severance in appealing the ruling to the West Virginia Supreme Court.

Severance has not been charged in the Alexandria murders and only faces a weapons violation in Loudoun County; a charge his attorney calls a sham.

Today's extradition hearing in Wheeling, West Virginia, felt more like a trial. It lasted several hours and witnesses were called. Severance's parents sat in the courtroom but strongly declined to comment about their son or the case to reporters.

Cameras are allowed in court in West Virginia, and six television cameras set up in the jury box.

Shayne Welling, Severance'e public defender, fought for a good two hours as he tried to keep his client from being extradited back to Virginia. He brought in the manager of Wheeling's Knight's Inn, Anand Patel, who said Severance never tried to hide his identify when he checked in on March 12, 2014.

The next day, a warrant for Severance's arrest, for possession of a firearm by a felon, was filed in Loudoun County.

Welling argued that the Loudoun County weapons charge was a sham designed by Alexandria police who want to keep Severance behind bars while they investigate him for three murders.

"The use of police powers by the commonwealth for the illegal arrest and unlawful detention is an of itself pretext," said Welling. He also argues the charge and arrest are invalid because of shoddy paperwork.

Loudoun County Detective Steven Schochet Deputy was Prosecutor Scott Smith's only witness. He testified to the validity of the gun charge and Loudoun County Sheriff's Department intention to prosecute Severance.

Prosecutor Smith told the court that none of Welling's arguments mattered for the extradition hearing. He said the only points that mattered were that there was a crime comitted, that the defendant was in the jurisdiction when the crime was comitted, and that the defendant has since left that jurisdiction.

Welling asked the court to release Severance from custody and "grant him asylum in West Virginia."

Ohio County Circuit Judge James Mazzone took a break, Severance chatted with his parents and shortly after, the judge came back and ruled that Severance be extradited back to Loudoun County, Virginia.

He gave Welling one hour to notify him if Severance intended to appeal, which he did. Judge Mazzone stayed his extradition order for one week, to give Welling time to file his appeal paperwork with the West Virginia Supreme Court.

Prosecutor Smith said he would request that Severance remain in the regional jail for the time being.


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